Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 75 million

Official Journal Reference

L 10 of 2002-01-12

Legislative Reference

50/2002/EC of 2001-12-07
The programme aims to support cooperation between the Member States to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of policies to combat social exclusion.

Abstract

The Commission communication of 1 March 2000, 'Building an inclusive Europe ', described the challenge of social exclusion and poverty and the existing policy responses in Member States and at Community level, and proposed on this basis to give a new impetus to cooperation of the European Union in this field. The Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000 incorporated as intrinsic to the overall strategy of the Union the promotion of social inclusion to achieve its strategic goal for the next decade of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

This council found the number living below the poverty line and in social exclusion in the Union unacceptable, and deemed it necessary to take steps to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by setting adequate objectives. Such objectives were agreed by the Nice European Council of 7, 8 and 9 December 2000.

The Lisbon Council acknowledged that the new knowledge-based society offers the potential to reduce social exclusion by creating both the economic conditions for greater prosperity through higher levels of growth and employment, and by opening up new ways of participating in society. At the same time, it brings the risk of an ever-widening gap between those who have access to the new knowledge, and those who are excluded.
The Lisbon Summit further agreed that policies for combating social exclusion should be based on an open method of coordination combining national action plans and a Commission initiative for cooperation. Special attention will be paid to social exclusion in view of the future enlargement of the Union.

The programme will be part of an open method of coordination between the Member States to help eliminate social exclusion and poverty by setting appropriate objectives at Community level and by the implementation of national action plans. The programme and the national action plans will contribute to a better understanding of social exclusion, the mainstreaming of the combating of exclusion in Member States' and Community policies and measures, and the development of priority actions chosen by Member States in accordance with their particular situation.

In designing, implementing and following up the activities under the programme, account shall be taken of the experience of Member States at all levels involved and of people exposed to social exclusion and poverty, as well as social partners, non-governmental and voluntary organisations, bodies providing social services and other actors involved in the fight against social exclusion and poverty.

The objectives of the programme will be met by:
_ Improving the understanding of social exclusion and poverty with the help in particular of comparable indicators;
_ Organising exchanges on policies which are implemented and promoting mutual learning in the context of national action plans, with the help in particular of comparable indicators;
_ Developing the capacity of actors to address social exclusion and poverty effectively, and to promote innovative approaches, in particular through networking at European level, and by promoting dialogue with all those involved including at national and regional level.

Subdivision

There are a number of action strands, which will be implemented, to assist the Community actions:

_ Analysis of characteristics, processes, causes and trends in social exclusion:
To improve understanding of the phenomenon of social exclusion, the following measures will be supported:
- Studies and meetings on the development of common methodologies to measure and understand social exclusion and poverty, their extent, characteristics, processes, causes and trends, and on technical work on indicators;
- The collection, in Member States and at Community level, and dissemination of statistics on the various types of social exclusion for the purposes of comparing such data effectively. This measure should support cooperation between national statistical offices and the Commission and improve the statistical reference sources at Community level and their contribution to the analysis of social exclusion and poverty;
- The promotion of innovative approaches, the development of thematic studies to contribute to the understanding of social exclusion, in order to address common issues in connection with policy developments in Member States, including emerging issues in relation to the knowledge-based society.

_ Policy cooperation and exchange of information and best practices
In order to promote policy cooperation and mutual learning in the context of national action plans, the following transnational activities will be supported:
- Transnational exchanges aimed at transferring information and good practices and encouraging peer review by means of meetings/workshops/seminars on benchmarks or on policies and practices, or other forms of exchange such as joint development of strategies and common dissemination of information, field visits and exchanges of personnel etc., organised at the initiative of either Member States and/or other key actors with the active involvement of Member States, or European organisations.
Transnational exchanges between national observatories or similar recognised bodies may also be supported under this strand;
- Expert work and technical studies in connection with the development of indicators and benchmarks, including in relation to the knowledge-based society;
- Annual report on social exclusion, which would present the state of play on the action conducted, especially national action plans, in the main policies and fields where the fight against poverty and social exclusion is at stake.

_ Participation of the various actors and support for networking at European level
To promote dialogue with all the operators concerned, the following measures may be supported:
- Core funding for key European networks involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion; the core funding is subject to an upper limit of 90 % of the expenditure eligible for support. This ceiling may only be reached under exceptional circumstances;
- An annual European Union Round Table Conference on social exclusion. The conference would be organised in close collaboration with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and prepared for in consultation with all the actors concerned, among others social partners, representatives of non-governmental organisations with experience in the field, and representatives of the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

The programme shall take into account the results of preparatory actions and activities under other relevant Community policies, instruments and actions. In designing, implementing, following up and evaluating activities under the programme, account will be taken of the experience of people exposed to poverty and social exclusion, as well as social partners, non-governmental organisations and other bodies involved in the fight against social exclusion and poverty. In all its activities, the programme will respect the principle of gender mainstreaming.

Implementation

The Commission will be assisted by a Committee and shall regularly monitor the programme in cooperation with the Member States. The Commission shall:
_ Ensure the implementation of the Community actions covered by the programme;
_ Have a regular exchange of views with representatives of non-governmental organisations and the social partners at European level on the design and implementation of and follow-up to the programme and on related policy orientations.

To this end, the Commission shall make useful information available to non-governmental organisations and social partners. The Commission shall inform the Committee established under of these views;
_ Promote active partnership and dialogue between all the partners involved in the programme to encourage an integrated and coordinated approach to the fight against social exclusion and poverty.

The Commission, in cooperation with the Member States will take the necessary steps to:
_ Promote the involvement in the programme of all the parties concerned;
_ Ensure the dissemination of the results of the Community actions undertaken within the framework of the programme;
_ Provide appropriate information, publicity and follow-up with regard to Community actions supported by the programme.

To ensure the consistency and complementarity of this programme with other European measures the Commission will keep the Committee regularly informed about other Community action contributing to combating social exclusion. Where appropriate, the Commission will establish regular and structured cooperation between this Committee and the monitoring committees established for other relevant policies, instruments and actions. The Commission will also establish the necessary links with the Social Protection Committee within the framework of the Community Actions.

The Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, will ensure overall consistency with other relevant Community policies, instruments and actions, in particular by establishing appropriate mechanisms to coordinate the activities of this programme with relevant activities relating to research, employment, economic, industrial and enterprise policies, non discrimination, immigration, equality between women and men, social protection, education, training and youth policy, health and in the field of enlargement and the Community's external relations.

The Member States will make every possible effort to ensure consistency and complementarity between activities under this programme and those carried out at national, regional and local levels. The Commission and the Member States shall ensure consistency and complementarity between action undertaken under this programme and action undertaken in the field of employment and also with Community action under the structural funds, in particular the Community initiative EQUAL.

This programme is open to the participation of:
_ Member States;
_ The EFTA/EEA countries in accordance with the conditions established in the EEA Agreement;
_ The associated central and eastern European countries in accordance with the conditions established in the Europe Agreements, in their additional protocols and in the decisions of the respective Association Councils;
_ Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, funded by additional appropriations in accordance with procedures to be agreed with each country.

It will be open to all public and/or private bodies, actors, and institutions involved in the fight against social exclusion, in particular:
_ Local and regional authorities;
_ Bodies responsible for combating social exclusion;
_ Social partners;
_ Bodies providing social services;
_ Non-governmental organisations;
_ Universities and research institutions;
_ National statistical offices;
_ Media;

The Commission will report on the overall consistency of policies with social cohesion including progress achieved under this programme in its annual summary report to the Spring European Council, on which the European Parliament shall express its views in due course.
The Commission will evaluate the programme by the end of the third year and at the end of the programme with the assistance of independent experts. This evaluation will assess the relevance, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of activities implemented with regard to the objectives. It will also examine the impact of the programme as a whole and the complementarity between action under the programme and that pursued under other relevant Community policies, instruments and actions.
The Commission will submit to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions a final report on the implementation of the programme by 31 December 2006.

To achieve the objective set up in the programme, the following Community actions may be implemented within a transnational framework through three main areas:
_ Analysis of characteristics, processes, causes and trends in social exclusion
Measures covered by this strand will be mainly implemented through calls for tenders. For cooperation with national statistical offices, the Eurostat procedures will apply.

_ Policy cooperation and exchange of information and best practices:
Measures covered by this strand will be mainly implemented in response to annual calls for proposals (some policy meetings/seminars might be organised directly by the Commission). Proposals will have to involve bodies, actors and institutions from at least three Member States and may be submitted to the Commission either by Member States and/or other key actors with the active involvement of Member States, or by European organisations.

_ Participation of the various actors and support for networking at European level:
Under this strand support may be provided to European networks satisfying criteria established by the Commission. Part of this strand can be supported in response to requests for subsidies from Member States.

In implementing the programme, the Commission may make use of technical and/or administrative assistance (definition, preparation, management, monitoring, audit and control), in the mutual interests of the Commission and of the recipients. The Commission may also undertake information, publication and dissemination activities. It may also undertake evaluation studies and organise seminars, workshops or other meetings of experts. Activities undertaken will fully respect the principles of data protection.
Record Number: 708 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05